3 More Rounds

Ward-Barrera final presser

Photo: Roc Nation Sports / Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos

Photo: Roc Nation Sports / Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos

On Thursday afternoon, the final press conference for Saturday night’s light heavyweight clash between Andre Ward and Sullivan Barrera took place in downtown Oakland, where both fighters gave their final takes on their meeting.

“I want to thank everyone for coming out as usual. The Bay Area is a beautiful place,” said Ward. “We don’t often get enough credit for the talent that comes out of here, but for the fan base, it’s tremendous. I’m just thankful for being from a place like this and thankful to have the love and support at every event that we bring here. I’m thankful that myself and guys like Marshawn Lynch, Damian Lillard and the Warriors put this place on the map and people are taking notice on the national stage. That is really important to me.”

“As far as the fight itself, it’s very simple to me…anybody who knows me, they know how I work and they know how I tick. I don’t get caught up in what’s next. I don’t get caught up in what people are saying. I’m aware of what is being said. I know what my opponent has been saying and I take him at his word. I’ve done everything that I’m supposed to do, like I always do and like I’ve done the last 10 years of my career. I’ve taken on the best… if it’s not another champion then it’s a top contender… and this is no different. You guys just know that I’m focused and locked in like I always am. I’m prepared and I’m ready for war come March 26.”

Barrera, who is going into his first high-profile fight, had little to say but promised to put on a good performance.

“I wanted to say thank you for coming here. I want to say thank you HBO, thank you everyone. Thank you Andre Ward for accepting my fight. I promise everyone who comes to the arena that I have had great preparation and this is a great dream. On that night, I’ll have a great show for everyone.”


Joseph Diaz Jr., who will be facing Jayson Velez in the co-featured bout, also shared some thoughts on his debut on HBO.

“I had a really great training camp. I’ve been training for eight weeks. This is my first time fighting on HBO, so I really want to showcase who I truly am. I’m 110% ready. I’m ready to give fight fans a war if Jayson Velez wants to have a war. I’m ready to showcase to everybody all the abilities I have inside the ring. I’m very excited to be fighting on the Andre Ward and Sullivan Barrera card. They’re two elite athletes and I’m very honored to be the co-main event for this fight. Come March 26, I promise I’m going to give you a great show,” said Diaz.

Velez, for his part played up the rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico and gave props to his opponent.

“I lost my last fight, so I need to win,” said Velez. “I want to win. I can’t tell you who’s going to win this fight because we both are great fighters and warriors. He’s Mexican, I’m Puerto Rican, and when you have a Puerto Rican and a Mexican in the same ring, you will see a war. You will see speed, power, everything in this fight. He’s a great fighter and I’m so excited. Thank you to everyone and stay tuned this Saturday and thank you to HBO of course.”

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